Craft Year 2020 was not supposed to look like this.
A year-long festival of events, Craft Year 2020 had a storied history to live up to. Building on its 2007 and 2015 predecessors, this year was going to be bigger, bolder and more accessible than ever before. We envisioned smashing our previous records, (712 events in our inaugural year, and 884 in 2015), by amassing more than 1,000 events in 2020. With the strength of our CitizensofCraft.ca platform as the digital host for Craft Year 2020, we began to highlight Canadian craft activity at the local, regional, national and international level.
Then, everything changed. The COVID-19 global pandemic began to affect day to day life. The same public spaces that had been alive with craft were shuttered. Doors closed, individuals stepped back, and society at large stopped connecting.
Or did we?
Yes, we are now physically separated. Tangible, tactile events and projects are no longer being experienced in the ways we expected. But as we grapple for stability and work toward a new normal, craft lives on.
One of the final official Craft Year events to take place before sweeping closures began was the CCF/FCMA’s national conference. The theme? 10 Digit Technology: Understanding Digital and Material Realities. Part of our larger digital strategies project funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the CCF/FCMA could not have predicted a more fitting theme for the new reality we are faced with today. This conference engaged representatives from across the country to explore new research, ideas and approaches in modern craft practice. As delegates departed and the dawn of the Coronavirus closures swept across Canadian society, the content from the conference transitioned from an exciting new horizon to our immediate shared reality. We are proud to share the content from this conference in a new series of videos to be released in the coming weeks, so that you, our digital audience, can benefit from the knowledge shared and be inspired for the future. Follow us on social media and subscribe to our youtube channel to see the content as soon as it goes live!
Even the restriction of self-isolation cannot stop the comfort and solace to be found in craft practice, or the importance of making in a time of great need. To make is to effect change. In a time of great restriction, eliciting change empowers us.
As the world continues to change, it is essential that craft artists and organizations are supported and that creative approaches to renewal are shared and celebrated. It is our sincere hope that the tenets of Craft Year 2020 continue to bridge our current divides to celebrate beauty, to value the handmade, and to use art as a means of healing society.
An expanded version of this blog post will be published in English in the upcoming issue of Ornamentum magazine at the end of May 2020. Subscribe today to get the full article and to read more excellent material about historic and contemporary craft and design.